Universiti Sains Malaysia hosts competition to boost interest of secondary students in STEM

The National Science Challenge (NSC) 2018 Penang State level was recently held at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to help bring science to life in order to boost the interest of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

According to the report by USM, the Young Scientist Network (YSN) to which lecturers from the university are included organised the competition.

The USM Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation Professor Dr Ir. Abdul Rahman Mohamed attended the ceremony representing the USM Vice-Chancellor. He expressed how pleased he was to see the young lecturers taking the initiative to organise the event.

He said that hopefully some of the students who participated in the challenge will someday be a recipient of the Nobel Prize Award. He also wished for competitions of this kind to be continued in order to encourage students to go into the science stream, whether at the Form 6, the undergraduate or the postgraduate level.

The Penang Chinese Girls’ High School (PCGHS) emerged as the champion of the competition. The group was comprised of 3 girls, namely Lim Syen, You Chin and Siu Pei. They all volunteered to represent their school, according to the accompanying teacher, because of their keen interest for science.

Moreover, the students were greatly motivated to join the NSC because of the grand prize to be awarded. The winner will have the opportunity to go for a study tour to Stockholm, Sweden and be able to witness the prestigious Nobel Prize Award Ceremony held there each year on 10 December.

As the winner, PCGHS will represent the state of Penang as they compete against the winners from other states for a place in the Grand Finals on 30 August 2018.

The organising committee was headed by Dr Nethia Mohana Kumaran, a senior lecturer at the USM School of Biological Sciences. Partners who supported the programme include the Ministry of Education; the Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment; Exxon Mobil; Sasbadi Online; Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA); and Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Dr Siti Khayriyyah Mohd Hanafiah, who was recently acknowledged as the ‘World’s Best Science Communicator,’ was invited to give a talk to the students, about science, during this year’s NSC. She is also a member of YSN and the representative of the young lecturers from the USM School of Biological Sciences.

The National Science Challenge (NSC) is organised by the Young Scientist Network (YSN), under the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) and in collaboration with Penang State Education Department, as part of the initiative to instil passion for STEM among school students.

NSC is the nation’s premier science challenge targeting secondary school students, aged 16, in Malaysia. The competition aims to test the students’ scientific knowledge through tests, quizzes, and innovative hands-on experiments at different levels of difficulty.

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